MEXICO CITY — A powerful magnitude-7.2 earthquake shook south and central Mexico Friday, causing people to flee swaying buildings and office towers in the country’s capital, where residents were still jittery after a deadly quake five months ago.
Crowds of people gathered on Mexico City’s central Reforma Avenue as well as on streets in Oaxaca state’s capital, nearer the quake’s epicenter.
“It was awful,” said Mercedes Rojas Huerta, 57, who was sitting on a bench outside her home in Mexico City’s trendy Condesa district, too frightened to go back inside. “It started to shake; the cars were going here and there. What do I do?”
She said she was still scared thinking of the Sept. 19 earthquake that left 228 people dead in the capital and 369 across the region. Many buildings in Mexico City are still damaged from that quake.
Mexican Civil Protection chief Luis Felipe Fuente tweeted that there were no immediate reports of major damages from Friday’s quake.
The Red Cross reported the facade from a building in the Condesa neighborhood, which was hit hard on Sept. 19, collapsed. And at least one strong aftershock shook building again in Mexico City.
In Oaxaca, Gov. Alejandro Murat said via Twitter that damage was being evaluated, but there were so far no reports of deaths.
The U.S. Geological Survey put the quake’s preliminary magnitude at 7.2 and said its epicenter was 33 miles (53 kilometers) northeast of Pinotepa in Oaxaca state. It had a depth of 15 miles (24 kilometers).
The epicenter is a rural area of western Oaxaca state near the Pacific coast and the border with Guerrero state.
In the Condesa, frightened residents flooded into the streets, including one woman wrapped in just a towel, but there were no immediate signs of damage.
“I’m scared,” Rojas Huerta said. “The house is old.”